When I was growing up, Otis Redding meant only one thing to me, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” And it went gold in the US on this day back in 1968 — just three months after his death. He had recorded it only three days before that. It was only well into adulthood that I learned what an important musician he was. Even dying when he was barely 26 years old, he would be a towering figure in pop music without that song.
He is probably as important as a songwriter as he is as a singer. He wrote, for example, “Respect,” which went on to be a mega-hit for Aretha Franklin, and “These Arms of Mine.” But you really can’t go wrong picking up any collection of his work. His death is one of the great tragedies of popular music.
Here he is at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 doing “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” which he wrote with Jerry Butler: